Martin Malone, left, Simon McNeill-Ritchie, and Dawn Gorman, at the event The Poets' War at St Margaret's Hall, Bradford on Avon, on November 8th 2018.

Countdown to Peace

In the autumn of 2018, I worked on several strands of the Bradford on Avon initiative Countdown to Peace, which staged numerous events in and around the town to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. I worked with residents at Wiltshire Heights Care Home in Bradford on Avon, running aural history sessions to capture their community and family First World War memories, which I wrote up for each resident and which were subsequently printed and turned into an attractive booklet by the care home staff. I read out some of these anecdotes at one of the celebrations' key events, The Poets' War, which I devised, co-ordinated and ran at St Margarets Hall in the town on Thursday November 8th. At this ticketed event, there was a poetry reading by Martin Malone, whose PhD delivered WWI poems through today's lens, plus poetry by WWI nurses and soldiers from Cllr Simon McNeill-Ritchie's book Great Ward Poetry, WWI poems by students from St Laurence School, poems by local poets both contemporary and from the WWI era and finally a very lively discussion between Martin and Simon, complete with popular audience Q&A.